October 26, 2021

A guide for improving data security and avoiding online fraud for farmers

It’s essential for any business to have some type of security plan in place to keep company data safe. It’s up to you how in-depth that plan is, it could be as simple as using trusted software and strong passwords. In this article, we break down how to improve data security into three ‘how to’ categories:

  1. How to create a strong password,
  2. How to memorise or save a strong password,
  3. How to create advanced data security for those keen to go a little deeper.

How to create a strong password

Improving data security often comes down to how you save and use passwords to access software, websites and tools you use to operate your business. Things like online banking, accounting software, and farm management software like Mobble. Strong passwords are the best way to improve data security and avoid online fraud. Here are the do’s and the don’ts:

  1. Do not reuse your passwords across multiple log-ins. A separate password for each is best.
  2. Do not use sequential numbers or letters on a keyboard, such as ‘qwerty’.
  3. Do not include your birth year or birth month/day in your password. Cybercriminals can easily find this information by snooping into your social media accounts.
  4. Use a combination of at least eight letters, numbers, and symbols.
  5. Combine different unrelated words in your password or passphrase, go one step further, make up your own words, or spell words wrong.
Never use sequential numbers on a keyboard for passwords, such as '123456'

How to memorise or save passwords safely

Creating a strong password will limit the chance of a cybercriminal hacking into your account. But we understand that using a different strong password for every account can be difficult for our memory to handle. It’s important not to store these passwords on a document on your computer due to the risk of cybercriminals finding those passwords. Here are three solutions to help you remember or store passwords safely, from the least safe to most safe:

  1. Store your passwords in a paper book and lock them away. This isn’t ideal, but it’s better to have strong passwords stored on paper than to have weak passwords that can be hacked.
  2. Create a pattern for a really strong password, so it’s easily remembered. e.g your really strong password is P8tty0G#5dn and then for every new login you create, use the first two letters of that website at the start of your strong password, so for logging into Mobble it could be moP8tty0G#5dn and so on. This will make it easy to remember the passwords without having to note them down.

These methods are a great start, but they are not fool proof. We'd also recommend considering more advanced data security techniques as explained in the next section.

Advanced data security

To step up your data security game, a password manager like 1password is an excellent way to go. These are safe places to store and even share passwords between the entire company. 

Another advanced security measure we recommend is two-factor authentication (2FA) on logins when available. Two-factor authentication requires a second piece of information beyond your password to strengthen login security. The second piece of information is usually a temporary code available on your phone via an app or delivered by SMS. If you get the option, we’d recommend setting up 2FA via an Authenticator app. Not all software tools have 2FA, but if they do, you’ll be able to find how to set up 2FA via that tool’s settings under security.

Avoiding scams

In this day and age, identifying and avoiding scams is a daily occurrence. Here is some trusted advice to identify and avoid scams:

  1. Don't install anything that's not trusted, or you don’t understand why you’re installing it.
  2. Definitely don't hand out personal information such as banking details and passwords to anyone you don't know or trust personally.
  3. Keep your software up to date where possible to help block unwanted viruses.
  4. Make sure the URL of an email or SMS is the same as the website you expect the email to come from. eg.If you really do have a DHL delivery coming, look for the URL www.dhl.com, anything else, don’t touch 👍

In summary; create strong passwords, save those passwords safely, use 2FA for added security, and use trusted software like our very own livestock farm management software Mobble.

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